BGF Targets SMEs With Alternative Funding

29 Oct 2017 | 02.34 pm

BGF Targets SMEs With Alternative Funding

UK private equity firm hired Leo Casey from IBI

29 Oct 2017 | 02.34 pm

British private equity investor BGF is expanding its operations in Ireland and has hired Leo Casey (pictured) from IBI Corporate Finance to head its Irish operation.

Casey was a director and board member at IBI and has 17 years experience of the mid-market segment, with IBI and formerly with PwC and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.

Apart from identifying, investing in and supporting businesses in Ireland which need longer-term and patient capital to support growth plans, Casey will be setting out to create a local Dublin-based team, sticking to BGF’s local approach which aims to place it close to the businesses it invests in.

BGF provides long-term equity funding in exchange for a minority stake in companies looking to scale up their operations. According to the company: “BGF is already backing the growth plans of nearly 200 entrepreneur and family owned businesses across the whole of the UK, including technology companies, manufacturers, recycling firms, house-builders, and retail chains.”

The company invested €5.5m in Waterford whiskey distillery Renegade Spirits, about €4.4m in Escher Group Holdings, a Dublin software firm focused on postal service, and has also invested in two Derry companies in the past year – waste management operator RiverRidge Recycling and family-owned housebuilder Bridgwater Homes.

BGF has also partnered with Medite, Ireland’s largest MDF producer, to help fund the world’s first Tricoya wood chip factory.

Casey said: “Irish SMEs need access to more patient sources of funding to support growth. BGF has a proven record of making investments in SME businesses.  Its model of investing combines long-term funding with a minority partnership which is particularly attractive to entrepreneurs who do not want to lose control of their business. I am delighted to be joining the team, helping to both establish and strengthen BGF’s presence in the Irish market.”

BGF recently joined a strategic partnership ith First Derivatives plc to identify, support and grow developing companies in areas such as cybersecurity, AI, blockchain, robotics, nanotechnology, life sciences, neurology and machine learning that want to use FD’s proven technology to disrupt markets.

The company employs around 140 people and has invested over €1.4 billion in more than 180 businesses.

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